About one-third of SMBs report spending less than one-third of their marketing budgets on internet or mobile marketing, while about 1 in 8 allocate more than 90% to digital, according to results of a survey from BrightLocal and ChamberOfCommerce.com. Overall, the average SMB dedicates 46% of its marketing budget to digital, per the study. That figure might not budge too much for the time being: just 21% expect to increase their spending on digital marketing in the next year.
Almost half might increase their budgets, while the remaining 32% say they won’t hike their digital budgets. The survey did not ask if respondents will be decreasing their budgets, so there’s no way of knowing if budget allocations might actually drop. It’s worth noting, though, that the 46% share of budgets allocated to digital by SMBs is a relatively high share: other reports (such as this one) have found marketers devoting about one-quarter of their budgets to digital.
If SMBs get more money to spend, though, it’s likely that it will be allocated to digital rather offline marketing. That’s because a slight majority – 54% – of respondents believe that online is more effective than offline marketing at bringing them new leads and customers. While word-of-mouth was considered by the largest proportion (26%) of respondents to be the most effective at generating new leads and customers, online channels such as SEO (19%), online local directories (15%) and email marketing were valued by more than offline tactics such as flyers and posters, local paper directories and local traditional media.
Overall, two-thirds of respondents said that internet marketing is either “quite” or “very” effective at attracting customers, while three-quarters either already use mobile and mobile marketing or believe that mobile will be an important channel for the future of their business.
About the Data: In October 2013, BrightLocal contacted 20,000 US based businesses and asked them to participate in the survey, receiving 668 responses from businesses spread across over 50 industry sectors.